Two questions: ask the right one!

Posted on February 13, 2014 · Posted in Authority, Teenagers, Worldview

An unexpected temptation arises.  Should you go along or say no: this is the dilemma of having to decide right here, right now. You were not planning to have to make a potentially life-changing decision, but the moment has arrived whether you wanted it or not. What do you do?


You can frame this question based on the immediate circumstances before you. In this case your question will be something like, “What am I going to do?” Or you can move the issue to a larger stage and ask, “What does God want me to do?”


Two questions:


“What am I going to do?”


“What does God want me to do?”


King David chose to ask, “What am I going to do?”, when he learned that Bathsheba was pregnant. As King, David was a man of many resources, many options. It was his problem to solve. The consequences were catastrophic. A good man was murdered, a newborn son died, a crafty general gained more political influence, two sons were also murdered and David’s rule as king was nearly ended by his own son. Why? Because David asked, “What am I going to do?”


The alternative question, “What does God want me to do?”, no doubt terrified David. He already knew his sin was the cause of his dilemma. So seeking God was the last thing on his mind. But because David failed to entrust himself to God his problem went from an awful immediate dilemma to a decision that hung over the rest of his life like a dark, suffocating cloud. David failed to learn from his failure to ask the right question when he first saw Bathsheba bathing. If he had asked, “What does God want me to do?”, much sin and heartache could have been avoided.


If you ask “What does God want me to do?”, you probably won’t know how things will work out, at least initially.  It is this fear of the unknown that often keeps you from trusting God. If David had gone to God and sought out Nathan the prophet, he may have lost his throne or worse. Or he may have been shown mercy. We will never know. But by trying to solve the problem himself, by trying to avoid more unpleasant circumstances he brought torment to his life and the lives of others.


Teach your children to ask, “What does God want me to do?” This will help them to see that avoiding unpleasant circumstances is not what God has called us to. In a situation similar to David’s sexual temptation, Joseph also had a question.


From a human perspective, the entire history of God’s covenant people hung in the balance. If Joseph had yielded to Potiphar’s wife, there would have been no one to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. Joseph didn’t know that he was to be the one who would rescue his family from famine and preserve the lineage of Abraham. He only knew to ask most important question of all:


“How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”

Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.